Sunday, August 2, 2015

Following Jesus

Today was Communion Sunday
"This is the day that the Lord has made... let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Brad welcomed us warmly and our special guests Mark & Mary Lynn Rhoads, and the Hagens.

Pray for our junior high kids who are going on a weeklong trek called M.U.U.U.C.E
Sept 13, Grand Opening / Open House here at our new church.
Seeking volunteers to help with church maintenance.
Bloodmobile next Sunday, Auguat 9.

The trio sang There Came A Man and then Heavenward Bound, another wonderful Gospel song after which we sang several songs as a congregation. During the offering we joined them in singing He's Everything To Me.

There were several prayer requests shared. After a time of prayer Brad read to us from Matthew 11:25-30.

Mark and Mary Lynn Rhoads, and Gwen led us in singing Trust and Obey before Brad introduced our guest speaker, Jeff Hagen who was visiting with his wife Sandy this morning.

Following Jesus

Pastor Hagen began by noting that he grew up a mile from Brad, and has followed our church community for some time through his friendship with the Cresman's. He spoke here a year ago across the road, and today gave a very solid message based on his own observations and life experiences. Here are some of the main points he made.

He started by saying that our new building is a new step, but what will make this new step effective begins with prayer. We need to pray for our pastor and for the church. "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord."

The word "spirit" in Hebrew means "wind." And in essence we are wind instruments, as His wind/spirit flows through us.

Jeff shared that he considered calling this message Learnings Under the Yoke of Christ. These are some lessons he's learned along the path of life.

1. The Christian faith starts with a call to follow Jesus.
Salvation is a gift that is given to us.

2. Life is messy. We're not in control.

3. We're called to seek His kingdom first, and He will be our provider.
To get out of the boat and come after Him is a challenge. Faith is not faith unless you get out of the boat.

4. There is a price to be paid for following Jesus.
Jeff cited Bonhoffer's book The Cost of Discipleship. He ended up dying from his conviction to follow Jesus.

Following Jesus starts with a call.

Romans 8:28 states that "All things work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose." God allowed evil men to crucify His son, yet this very act undid evil.

God calls us, and deposits a seed of the word of God into our hearts. He invites us to cultivate that seed.

This call is a revelation of Jesus. When Peter professed that Jesus was Messiah, Jesus noted that flesh and blood did not reveal this to Peter, but it was revealed by God. But this call is just a start point.

Life is about a total renovation of the heart. God says, "If you want to follow Me, deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me." From the heart come the springs of life. Life is a constant lesson of learning to pick up the cross, and letting Him take control.

Finally, there's a price to be paid for following Christ.

The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord and he searches the depths of our being.

Jeff shared how money made him feel secure. Our security is not going to be found in money.

We need the willingness to go where God wants us to go. Are you willing to follow Jesus?

If we follow, He will transform us from a selfish person to someone who looks like Jesus from the inside out. To reveal the glory of God, we need to be willing to submit to His yoke. He will shape our heart to the image of His son.

At this, Gwen and the Rhoads' led us in "I Have Decided To Follow Jesus."

At this we celebrated the Sacrament of Communion.

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